(Note: We're re-posting our 21 review from SXSW to coincide with the film's theatrical release this weekend.)
In 21, an M.I.T. math whiz joins a secret cabal of card-counters who fly to Vegas on the weekends to make a killing at the blackjack tables. That's the hook, the part you may not have seen in a thousand other films. But the rest is as generic as the title (21? Really? That's the best you could come up with?), a story about a nobody who becomes a somebody, forsakes his friends, and learns What's Really Important.
Yawn is right. This is a prime example of a movie that isn't bad, per se, just unnecessary, a competently made but wholly unremarkable trifle. It trades exclusively in clichés and stock characters -- and yet, strangely, director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) seems to believe he has made something compelling and original. And I have to think, if I've seen lots of movies exactly like this one, then shouldn't Luketic have as well?